ASU coach Greg Powers was not prepared to sugarcoat his thoughts after a 3-0 victory against No. 17 Rhode Island, a game in which ASU outshot Rhode Island 52-20.
“Controlled by us.”
It was an emotional game, a very chippy and very violent game that No. 2 ASU (28-6 ACHA) was able to take Saturday night against the Rams (17-10-3 ACHA). The game featured 73 total penalty minutes, three misconduct calls, an injury stoppage, countless roughing penalties and an ejection.
It turned into a less of a hockey game and more of a street fight.
With a different goaltender in net, the results for Rhode Island were the same. Sophomore Andrew Sherman, like senior Paul Kenny last night, was unable to stop the Sun Devil offense led by junior captain Colin Hekle.
ASU scored on yet another breakaway goal by Hekle, his third in his last three games. In the third period, freshman Kory Chisolm was able to emerge from a flurry of sticks to find the puck and add to the lead with an unassisted goal.
Then it got ugly.
Sophomore Faiz Khan was checked from behind, leading to some angry words from the ASU players. On a Rhode Island breakaway, junior Danny McAuliffe chased down the Rams player but got pushed into junior goaltender Joseph D’Elia.
After a lot of pushing and shoving, the penalty boxes filled to the point that those already serving their penalties were sent to the locker room to finish their time just to make room in the penalty box.
With 4:41 left in the game, ASU senior defenseman Brian Parson connected on a powerplay goal. It was the nail in the coffin.
“Their team was kind of a little bit right there with us with a two-goal lead,” Parson said. “When we got that one, it kind of shut them down.”
Lost in all the scuffle was D’Elia’s second shutout in as many nights. Over the weekend series, he allowed no goals on 38 shots. It was his third shutout of the season. Powers liked what he saw.
“Our ‘D’ as a core and Joe were awesome,” said Powers. “7-0 over two games against a top-20 team and we’re happy.”
Next weekend, rival UA visits Tempe, a series that mean everything to the visiting Wildcats.
As it stands right now, UA would be the final team that would receive an invitation to the national tournament. It needs to win to remain on the bubble. ASU has won the last 28 meetings against their rivals.
“Our guys are always going to get up for UA,” Powers said. “These are the biggest games for Arizona in years.”
As if the Sun Devils needed a reason to want to beat the Wildcats.
“It’s going to be fun,” Powers said.
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